Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 20
INTRODUCING ROMANS CHAPTER 1:5-10
Now let’s Pick up Paul in Romans Chapter 1, that great apostle to the Gentiles, the revealer of all the Church Age doctrines. Someday, I’m going to list all the basic doctrines that come only from this great apostle. You can’t find them anywhere else, and those are what I call Pauline doctrines. How in the world people can ignore that is just beyond me. Well, back to Chapter 1 of the Book of Romans. In the last lesson we were showing that Paul was uniquely called of God to be the apostle of the Gentiles. Not one of many, but rather he is The Apostle to the Gentiles. We know others followed in his footsteps, but nevertheless Paul is the one to whom we must go for our basic doctrines. He’s been separated in verse 1 unto The Gospel of God. Now verse 2:
“(Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;”
Now I have to stop for a moment, and explain the seed of David. Way back in Genesis 3:15 we have the reference to the Seed of the woman. And what would the Seed of the woman accomplish? He would crush the head of the serpent. That was the promised line of redemption, and as some great theologian once put it, that scarlet thread of salvation that starts with Genesis 3:15 and carries all the way through Scripture. So the Seed of the woman was to crush the head of the serpent. Then in Genesis Chapter 12 we have the Abrahamic Covenant, and you know I’m always putting a lot of emphasis on that. And then Paul states in Galatians Chapter 3, verse 16, the following:
“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, `And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.'”
Christ is the Seed of Abraham. We have three distinct seeds that Paul is going to make reference to. First, of course, going all the way back to Genesis Chapter 3, as the Seed of the woman He would crush our archenemy, Satan. Then he refers in Romans 1:3 to Christ the Seed of David. Because out of the seed of David would come Mary, also Joseph, who is the legal father. So now we have not only the Seed of the woman, Who is going to defeat Satan at the Cross, but we have the seed of David which brought Him on the scene in order to become flesh and go the way of the Cross, as well as being the rightful Heir to the throne of David. We also have that reference to the seed of Abraham which brings us into the picture, because when it comes to the realm of faith + nothing, we Gentile believers are referred to by Paul as the seed of Abraham, because, of course, of Christ being the Seed. So repeating verse 3:
“Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh:”
In other words, through the line of David and Solomon, here came Mary as well as Joseph. Now verse 4:
“And declared to be the Son of God with (what?) power,…”
That’s another word that Paul will use over and over when he talks about his Gospel: that it is the power of God. I like to go back and compare Israel in slavery in Egypt to ourselves: coming out of that slavery, coming up against the shores of the Red Sea with seemingly no hope. They have experienced the death angel flying over because they were under the blood, but yet God brings them out of that experience into almost an impossible situation: the shores of the Red Sea, the Egyptian armies behind them, impossibilities on the right and left, and then He tells them to stand still. Well, that’s exactly where human individuals find themselves. We are without hope, we’ve been in the slave market of Satan.
Recently, we had a super good time again in our class. I made reference again to the slave trade as we knew it in America from history books, and it was awful. Not just the slavery itself in the work of the plantation owners, but the whole slave trade. Conditions in those slave ships that brought those poor human beings over from Africa were totally inhuman. I wouldn’t treat my cattle that way. It was beyond human description what those poor folk went through, simply because they were slaves. But in the spiritual realm, we were in that same ballpark. And we are going to see that in a future lesson, of where we were before we became believers, and where we were as the offspring of Adam. We were under the same kind of circumstances, spiritually, that those poor slaves were back in the 1700’s. All the way from their capture in Africa, across the ocean on those stinking ships, and then into the slave markets they were treated worse than animals; bought and sold. But listen, we were in the same boat spiritually, and God is going to graphically tell us what He saw in everyone of us, and it’s not a very pretty picture.
God bought us out of that slave market. He set us free, cleaned us up, gave us a whole new wardrobe, put us in a beautiful place to live, and remember, I’m talking about the spiritual not the material now. He set our feet upon a Rock, gave us hope, and all we had to do for all of that was believe the Gospel (I Corinthians 15:1-4) for our salvation. Now then, how did God accomplish it? With His Power! You see, in order to buy a slave out of the slave market in Virginia back in the 1840’s and 50’s, you had to have money, you had to have some clout, influence. Then you could go down and buy slaves. Then they could take them home and do with them what they wanted. No doubt, there were benevolent slave holders and then there were some that were task masters. It took a certain amount of power in order to take somebody out of that slave market. Now, with God, it took all the power at His disposal to bring us out of Satan’s slave market. And I’m going to be stressing as we come through these chapters of Romans, that the power of God, the very same power that put everything out there in the universe was concentrated on everyone of us the moment we believed. And it was His power that brought us out of the clutches of Satan’s slave market. And so this is why you will see Paul constantly refer to “The power of God.” Now verse 4 again:
“And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness (and what proved it?), by the resurrection from the dead:”
We touched on it a few weeks ago, when back in Acts Chapter 13, the Psalmist declared Him to be the only begotten Son.
“God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, `Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. And as concerning that (He was the only begotten Son) he raised him up from the dead,…'”
Remember, after looking at Acts 13:33,34, I brought you to Romans 1:4. These two passages show the very terminology of the “Only begotten Son of God” is not a reference to Bethlehem, but rather a reference to His Resurrection. That’s when He became the truly only begotten Son of God. It was the power of Resurrection. Here again, I don’t know the times I’ve had people in my classes come to me and say they have a Sunday School teacher, or a pastor, or a friend who can believe that Christ died on a Roman Cross, but yet they have a problem with His Resurrection. Listen, if we can’t accept the fact that He was raised from the dead, we have nothing! We are totally lost, because His Resurrection from the dead is the very basis of His power.
Many lessons ago when we were in the Four Gospels, you may remember I made mention of the fact that there was one thing that changed the total attitude of the eleven disciples, who, at the time of His Crucifixion, scattered and ran for their lives out of fear. What changed that fear? The Resurrection! Because you see, after Christ rose from the dead, Peter never again would have kowtowed to a young maid and swore that he never knew Christ. Peter stood up to Rome and, as near as I can tell, all eleven of the apostles were martyred without fear. Why? Because of the truth of Resurrection. And it’s the same way with us. We can say with Paul, that we don’t have to worry what men can do to this body because they can’t touch the invisible immortal part of us which one day is going to be resurrected. And this makes all the difference in the world as far as Christians are concerned, we have the hope of the power of Resurrection. First, in salvation out of deadness, as we will see in Ephesians Chapter 2:1
“AND you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;” How did He do it? The power of Resurrection! Back to the text:
“By whom (here Paul comes back with his apostleship again) we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith (there is only one) among all nations, for his name:”
Do you see the difference? For a moment, let’s go to the Book of Matthew for sake of comparison that there is not a contradiction ever. There is just a change in the program. Back in Matthew Chapter 10, Jesus has just chosen the Twelve up around Galilee.
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, `Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.'”
Do you see how plain that is? They were directed only to the Nation of Israel, and throughout His three years of earthly ministry He Himself confined His ministry only to Israel, with only two exceptions. That was the Roman centurion, and the Canaanite woman, who at first He even ignored, and the Twelve said send her away. Why? Because she was a Gentile. But now come back to Romans and you see it seems like a contradiction. but it isn’t, because now God has set Israel aside and now God is going to go to the Gentiles. So now Paul can write:
“…for obedience to the faith among all nations (not just Israel), for his name. Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints; Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Called to be saints! Now a saint isn’t someone who walks around with a halo around his head, or someone who is of sinless perfection. Far from that description. But a saint is someone who has believed what God has promised. Then by virtue of God’s imputation, not of anything we have worked for or deserved, but by the act of imputation, God has imputed to us His righteousness simply because we believe. Strictly because of our faith in what He has said. God does that all on our behalf, and we will be looking at that more in-depth as we study the Book of Romans. In imputation, this fact that you and I deserve none of it, He has put it to our account. He has literally inundated us with everything that He has accomplished on our behalf. That’s what it means to be a saint.
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.”
Now remember at the time Paul’s writing the Roman Empire was pretty much the then-known world. I know a lot of people have wondered when I’ve said that I felt Paul’s Gospel had penetrated all the way from Great Britain on the West across both shores of the Mediterranean Sea, and all the way out to the Ganges River of India (because that is as far as the Roman Empire extended), that if Rome was so pagan, and transportation was still relatively slow, how did it happen in that period of time?
Consider the chronology: Paul was converted about 37 A.D., he went for three years of that time to “God’s personal seminary,” as I call it. That takes you to approximately 40 A.D., then he goes up to his home town of Tarsus and begins his work among the Gentiles, and, of course, he always approaches the Jew first. Then in Acts chapter 15, we had that counsel in Jerusalem, where the Jews were now calling Paul on the carpet for having gone to Gentiles. Look at the time interval. From the time he begins his ministry among the Gentiles in his home town of Tarsus, till that counsel in Jerusalem, it’s already 11 years, and see, in that 11-year period of time, he still hasn’t written any of his epistles. But he has been seeing Gentiles brought into the Body of Christ.
He wrote his first Epistle to Thessalonica in about 54 A.D. Then four years later in 58 A.D. he writes the little letter of Galatians. Now remember, he has already been on his missionary journeys and established these Churches. But now he has to write to them to admonish them, and encourage them. Then I Corinthians is written in 59 A.D. and the next year he writes II Corinthians in about 60 A.D. Then the same year he writes this Book of Romans, and then four years later in 64 A.D. he writes from Rome in prison, under house arrest, to the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. And then the next year while he’s still under house arrest in Rome (that would be 65 A.D.), he writes I Timothy and Titus. Then in the last year of his life (probably martyred in either the end of 66 A.D. or the early part of 67 A.D.), he writes his final little Epistle to II Timothy, and that’s the letter where he says in Chapter 4 the following:
II Timothy 4:6-8
“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
I want you to remember that Paul has been ministering to Gentiles for about twenty-three years before he gets to Rome. That’s a long time, and in that twenty-three year period the Book of Romans hasn’t even been written yet. So never lose sight of all these things. This just didn’t happen in a month or two, this was progressively taking place over the years. And it’s the same way with his letters. Paul won’t cover all the deep doctrines of Romans when he writes to the Thessalonians, and the further you come into Paul’s revelations the deeper they get. And when you reach those final letters like Ephesians and Philippians, most people won’t even touch them at all. But that’s because it’s so deep, it’s a higher plane, and this is where God wants us to be, studying to show ourselves approved. He wants us to learn and grow. Back to the question I had earlier.
How did the Gospel get completely through the Roman Empire if Paul’s in prison? I have a pet theory. The Roman Army was proud of the way they treated their troops. America is the same way. The Pentagon likes to feel they treat their military quite fairly. They are good at rotating their military personnel. The same way with the Romans. They didn’t put some poor soldier at Paul’s side, and let him rot there, but after a few weeks or months they would bring in several more to take turns guarding him. And knowing the Apostle Paul, by the time those Roman young men would come in and spend a few days chained to him, how did they leave? Believers! I have to believe that. Remember in another one of his letters it says that his Gospel had even penetrated the Roman Palace. We know Paul didn’t, so how did it? By these Roman soldiers. They would go from Paul’s house to maybe duty at the Roman Palace and Emperor. Maybe they went to India or Spain. But wherever these Roman soldiers went, if they had become believers, then they would take The Gospel with them to the ends of the earth. That’s why he also says in the letter to Titus:
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath (past tense) appeared to all men.” The Holy Spirit would never have permitted him to say that if it were not true. So from this one man Christianity just scattered throughout the whole Roman Empire. Now Romans 1:9:
“For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son (that’s another thing that you want to watch for: the various terms that Paul puts on his Gospel. He will never call it the Gospel of the Kingdom, never! He will call it the Gospel of God, Gospel of His Son, My Gospel, The Gospel of the Grace of God, The Gospel of Christ, and so forth, but it’s always uniquely Paul’s Gospel), that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;”
Along with all of his preaching and teaching, Paul was a man of prayer. And I feel that every believer can also be if he wants to be. We can all be prayer warriors.
“Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.” He is writing this in about 60 A.D., and he’s not going to get there until 63 A.D. So he is still writing from another point in the empire in reference to the day when he will get to Rome.
“For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;” Paul at this time had never been to Rome. The Roman congregation was established by the witnesses of other Gentile Believers. Not this apostle. And Paul recognizes that, but he wants to still have a part in it. Now verse 12:
“That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.”
Rome was just constantly on this man’s heart, and God, of course, didn’t permit it’s fulfillment until he finally went as a prisoner.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that (most people think many other words should be here rather than) believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”